Simple metrics for programming languages
Publisher Monterey, California : Naval Postgraduate School
Call number ocm10635729
Digitizing sponsor Naval Postgraduate School, Dudley Knox Library
Book contributor Naval Postgraduate School, Dudley Knox Library
Collection navalpostgraduateschoollibrary; fedlink; americana
Notes some content may be lost due to the binding of the book.
Full catalog record MARCXML
Includes bibliographical references
"Prepared for: Chief of Naval Research; Arlington, Virginia 22217."
Technical report; 1982
Several metrics for guiding the design and evaluation of programming languages are introduced. The objective is to formalize notions such as 'size', 'complexity', 'orthogonality', and 'simplicity'. Three different kinds of metrics are describes: syntactic, semantic, and transformational. Syntactic metrics are based on the size of a context-free grammar for a language or a part of a language. They can be used to judge the size of a language and the relative sizes of its parts. These techniques are demonstrated by their application to Pascal, Algol-60, and Ada. Syntactic metrics make no reference to the meaning of a language's constructs. For this purpose we have developed several semantic metrics that measure the interdependencies among the basic semantic ideas in a language. This technique has been applied to the control, data, and name structures of FORTRAN, BASIC, Lisp, Algol-60, and Pascal. Finally, we suggest that a useful measure of a programming language is the complexity of the relationship between its syntactic and semantic structures. For this purpose we introduce a transformational metric and demonstrate its use on subsystems of several languages
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